Earthquakes, fires, severe storms, including hurricanes and ice weather are natural events that will occur. They will make themselves known by announcing their arrival through the local and national weather stations, and Doppler radar. These are natural events that produce devastation, even when someone may be prepared for them. However, there are other catastrophic events that are not natural. They come in the form of gas, fuels, explosives and just plain bad guys gesticulating guns, and spraying rounds into a crowed. The aftermath of both can cause physical and property damage that is irreversible. Is there any way that we as humans can prepare for this?
The answer is as complexed as Einstein trying to figure out his first math equation as a toddler. Although he was able to do so a bit later, in his life, and make it easier to understand, the same holds for deciding what to do about an approaching disaster or sudden traumatic and terrorizing event. For an approaching disaster that the public is aware of, suggestions are made through the media that is issued from the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on what to do and where to take shelter.
For a hurricane, batten down the hatches is a good thing to do. However, the magnitude of the storm may be as such that batten down the hatches may prove to be insufficient. The suggestion is to leave town and stay with relatives until the storm is over. Hopefully, your residence will still be there and could use some touching up. Should a person have stayed in that residence, they may have lost their life. Losing a life is more difficult to handle then damaged property. The property can be replaced, but the life cannot.
For ice storms and heavy floods, the same suggestions apply. However, the ice may prevent a person from evacuating. In this case, staying warm and having a reserve stock of food and water is the best choice. For those with attics and basements, loading up the shelves with canned goods, a first aid kit with flashlights and extra batteries, and water that can sustain and family of six for at least one month should allow time for the ice to melt where nourishment and thirst will not be an issue. The power may be out so having firewood is also a good choice. Take caution with this because of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning that could occur.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur with the use of an oven or burner that people leave on, in the home to stay warm. If there are questions about the use of heat in this manner, consultation with the local gas and electric company, or fire department, before a disaster will prove to be beneficial. Consequently, preparing for an approaching disaster is the best method of staying alive. However, seeing a disaster coming is an advantage the public have based on the EAS. What are hard to prepare for are the disasters that occur that you can’t see coming. The following is an example that has occurred in this country and around the world:
A crowd gathers at the local mall, on a busy holiday weekend. Many people walk about the area, with thoughts of the gifts they will purchase with a sale that will last until the next day. They are men, women and children. The sky is bright and clear and the parking lot is full. The temperature is about 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. A middle aged man with an overcoat steps out of a tan minivan that is parked in the handicap zone. He walks towards the front entrance of the mall. He is clearly out of sorts but no one notices him. With every step, his hands remain in his overcoat pockets.
The man steps closer and closer to the front door and stops. He then removes his hands from his pockets. In them are handguns. Without hesitation, he opens fire, striking as many people as possible, regardless of age, sex or nationality. Screaming, shouting and panicking ensue as people scramble to take cover. Families struggle to protect their children but to no avail. Whatever the man’s intent was, he was accomplishing his goal.
The police arrive and immediately take action to neutralize the man and successfully deescalate the calamity. The man is dead but the aftermath is catastrophic. Scores of injured and deceased people lay on the ground, awaiting assistance from local emergency medical services. The disaster occurred but it is one that the pubic was not warned about. Is it that there is no way of preparing for this kind? Or is there something that can be done to alert ourselves, even on a personal basis. This type of attack, even if only one person was injured or killed is the act of a terrorist, regardless if the person or persons is deranged, psychotic, or on drugs.
Terrorist attacks are not rare and can occur at any given time and place, and for the public to prepare themselves for it is to have a personal alert system that works for each and every individual. That system is to be aware of your surroundings. If you see someone wearing a heavy coat, in the heat of the day and appearing to be out of sorts, a red flag should alert your senses to take action; that action is to alert the local police department and for you to get as far away from that person as possible.
Of course we cannot see everything that is out of sorts, but keeping alert of other people’s behavior will certainly help. Additionally, if a vehicle is parked in an area, and have been there for a bit, consider that a threat and have law enforcement check it out. No one will get in trouble for alerting law about a possible threat. Your actions may just prevent injury to others and save countless lives.
Disasters will always occur. The public’s safety depends of the information they receive and their own personal insight of their surroundings, and any strange and erratic behavior of other people. Unfortunately, there is no failsafe way to stay safe but preparing for a storm, earthquake, flood, fire, or terrorist attack will help in many ways.
An eagle can spot the smallest movement from high in the sky, based on his keen sight, but mostly from experience of the hunt; birds fly south or north to get away from an approaching storm due to a changing weather phenomena; barefooted people will seek shade after walking on hot pavement. The key here is that we know it’s there; we know it will happen, and we know what to do. So let’s use what we’ve learned in the past to avoid and prepare for what disasters are waiting for us in the future.